Canon Jeffrey John, the openly gay Anglican priest who earlier this month withdrew his nomination as bishop of Reading, has brought the controversy around his appointment to a close with a poignant letter to the Reading Chronicle.

John said he had received thousands of messages since the announcement of his appointment and the overwhelming majority of them have been friendly and supportive.

This avalanche of kindness has left me all the more saddened and disappointed that I cannot now come to serve you as your bishop, he wrote.

John said he had received an impression of Reading as instinctively fair, welcoming, accepting and willing to give a stranger (even one with a -˜gay’ label) a chance to prove himself.

I am more sorry than I can express that in the end that chance was taken away, he added.

John said many who have written to him since the withdrawal of his nomination had told him they were tempted to leave the church in disgust.
However, he urged them to stay.

That is a reaction I understand all too well, but it is not the way -¦ Love wins in the end, and if we are faithful, in the end we will build a Church that looks more like Jesus and that will truly be a home for all God’s children, John wrote in conclusion.

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